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The Thing is ...

Flash Fiction

By Teresa RentonPublished 5 months ago Updated 5 months ago 3 min read
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The Thing is ...
Photo by Cristian Palmer on Unsplash

The gleaming white yacht bobs up and down on a softly swaying sea. The sun’s reflection bounces off each ripple, off the smooth fibreglass surface of the hull, casting glints like fireworks against the billowing blanket of blue.

Along a polished teak deck on the yacht’s bow, a man paces. He’s no more than thirty. His expression distorts his handsome features; his eyes squash to narrow slits beneath a furrow-lined brow. With each hand, he grips the sides of his head. He can’t stand still. Even the plump seagulls with their puffed-out milky breasts cock their heads to the side, curious, as they perch on shimmering wet rocks.

The man moves his lips but makes no sound, until he cries out, Fuck! hurling the obscenity across the sea, a powerful skimmer that bounces several times before it disappears. Sinks. The man occasionally raises his hands, chops the space above him, before clamping one hand over his mouth and the other back onto his head. He continues to pace like an entrapped tiger, looking for a way out. The gulls shift, agitated, and scream back, some taking flight, weaving ribbons of white through the sky.

His voice is low, words escape in quick, stilted streams and mutterings.

The thing is, it was never about you. I know you can’t hear me, but I’m on my superyacht, dry, yet fucking drowning. What have you made me do? I didn’t intend to hit your fucking rowing boat.

He knows the boat rental man will snarl and hand him a bill for the damage, but then he’ll soften and smile a toothless beer-soaked smirk when he clocks the hard cash.

You shouldn’t have rowed towards my yacht.

The thing is, he’d worked his ass off hustling and chasing leads through nights, while propped up with cocktails that fuelled fleeting dates in late-night cellars—no questions asked.

Until I made it. You were a pretty waitress, a cute distraction. Then Sienna looked my way. And you wouldn’t look away, wouldn’t disappear.

The thing is, he was about to propose to Sienna, dazzle her with diamonds. Gorgeous, sexy model, daughter of a tech billionaire. The darling of the society pages. This was to be the event of the season. Click click, paparazzi cameras would catch the incandescent light that constantly whitewashes their stage.

The thing is, you must understand I had to swerve from the craggy rock. I couldn’t propose from a defaced yacht. The man chops the air yet again. You shouldn’t have looked for me; you should have gone with that nice store supervisor when he was obviously sweet on you, told him the baby was his.

The thing is, what’s the point of trying to explain? You glug the bubbles from cheap fizz and call it champagne, while your grandma’s wedding ring sits at the pawnbroker’s. Dom Perignon sits next to my toothpaste darling; it’s my fucking mouthwash.

The thing is, only Sienna was on his mind, along with all his other shiny stuff, and fuck, it all looked so good just minutes ago. Now he paces.

While your flimsy rowing boat, easy to miss. Easy to miss. Yes! So easy to miss. Small you in a small boat, in your even smaller world!

The thing is, she was just a silvery slither sinking in a shoal of fish, visible through the clear ocean water.

* * * * *

First published in Flash Fiction Magazine

Teresa Renton has a first-class degree in English Linguistics and Language Creativity from the Open University. Her work has previously been published in Flash Fiction Magazine, Across the Margin, Stick Figure Poetry, 101 Words, and 50 Give or Take

You might be interested in reading my piece How to Write Flash Fiction

or Prose Poetry vs Flash Fiction

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About the Creator

Teresa Renton

Inhaling life, exhaling stories, poetry, prose, flash or fusions. An imperfect perfectionist who writes and recycles words. I write because I love how it feels to make ink patterns & form words, like pictures, on a page.

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Comments (2)

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  • Stephanie Hoogstad5 months ago

    So powerful. You've packed so much into such a short piece. Well done!

  • Dana Crandell5 months ago

    I loved the transition from the calm of the first paragraph (Those alliterations were very effective.) to the exclamation and the turmoil of the man's thoughts. Great piece of fiction!

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